I’ll admit it. I used to think anxiety was a bit of a joke. And I never thought “panic attacks” were real. That was, until I was diagnosed with them, and it hit me that all those times that I thought I was dying of a heart attack based on my very real, very intense physical symptoms that I was wrong. Now that’s humbling. Kind of like how I thought that when people had a screaming baby in the grocery store that they were obviously bad parents and should just leave. That was until I had a child of my own, and found myself in those situation. “Sorry everyone in the store that I am getting the stink-eye from because I my child is screaming so loudly that even people in their cars outside can probably hear. If I don’t stay and get this food, we won’t eat. And then she’ll NEVER stop screaming.” Why does it seem to take going through the same experience to see someone with compassion? Shouldn’t we look through they eyes of Jesus and give the same grace and compassion he gives us even if we can’t understand their situation? But I digress.
This morning I had a flare up of anxiety and started going through my memorized verses.
Phil. 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
1 Jn 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
So what gives? I’ve been dealing with having a mantra of these verses for years. I cast my cares. I try to humble myself (clearly I still need God’s continued grace with that!). I try NOT to be anxious. I pray, give thanksgiving, and I even started writing out my petitions to God. But the no fear in love thing? Completely failed. I just couldn’t understand why, if I love God with my whole heart, did I still have fear? We are all hard-wired with fear. It is a built-in fight or flight mechanism, to be of use in specific situations. But I couldn’t see how I could just “drive” it out when it came upon me.
Reality – I am not the one who was supposed to driving. It’s not even my car. I was looking at this verse entirely backwards and it seems to be the key connection for both the verses above, and sooooo many others in the bible.
It is not the love I have, but yet the love God has for me. And through understanding and truly believing, trusting, in that love, I can understand that I don’t need to be afraid. But this is not a one time thing, probably why it is mention everywhere in the bible how much God really loves us.
This in turn made me take another look at my perspective of the other verses. Yes, I am to be humble, but the flip of that is to know who I am, but more so remember who God is, and how great a love he has for me. The context of all these verses talk about compassion, God’s love, and pride in verses that come before.
Fear is real. Anxiety is real. But so is compassion, pride, and humbling. But most of all, love is real. And it is in recognizing just how big and mighty of a God we serve that can send the fear packing.
what is "spark"?
Its a small thing - like the flash on a spark plug that hopefully ignites something bigger to propel you forward.
Niki is a wife and mother of 2 children. She lives in Charlotte, NC where she enjoys everyday moments that ignite her relationship with our Lord and Savior.